In the big match of the day in Brisbane, Kei Nishikori knocked out Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-5 to advance to the semifinals.
Nishikori and Dimitrov hooked up in the 2017 Brisbane final, but this time the Japanese turned the tables and overcame a 4-1 second set deficit.
“I was expecting a very tough match; I thought we both played great tennis and I’m very happy with the way I played today.”
The Japanese, who hasn’t won a title in nearly three years, will face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
“I think I’ve been playing really well these past two matches, and I thought I had a good preparation the past three weeks,” said Nishikori. “Today was much even better than my first match, and hopefully I can keep going. Jeremy is a tough opponent. I think especially on this surface he can be more dangerous. So I will try to be more focused and I hope I can get a title this week.
“I think the key is going to be my return. He has great serve. Obviously, a very aggressive player big forehand. So hopefully I can make as many balls as I can. And I think I’ve been serving really well. Today, was one of the best service games I had [in the] past couple of years.
“I’m trying to go top five, that’s my next goal,” Nishikori added. “I was playing great tennis (last year) and I think I’m doing it again now this week.
Tomorrow, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga takes on young Australian hope Alex De Minaur while Daniil Medvedev and Milos Raonic collide, with all four trying to fill out the semifinals.
In the women’s draw, US Open champion and Nishikori’s compatriot Naomi Osaka reached the last year after beating Anastasija Sevastova 7-5, 6-3. She’ll meet Lesia Tsurenko in her semifinal.
And Friday will see Aliaksandra Sasnovich-Donna Vekic and Karolina Pliskova-Ajla Tomljanovic.
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